A community’s values are shaped by its residents. They determine what it stands for and supports, and what is unacceptable.
That will be demonstrated from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Columbus Learning Center, 4555 Central Ave., when a growing coalition called Not In Columbus leads a public rally against white supremacy groups.
“We want to mobilize together to show people that no hate group of any kind — no hate group with white supremacy ideology — has any way to organize here,” said Brittany King, one of the rally’s organizers, and also an organizer of Black Lives Matter.
We agree. Hate should have no place in Columbus or Bartholomew County.
The coalition of faith-based, ethnic, diversity and minority groups has been meeting since Oct. 12 in an effort to build a united front against hate groups — two of which have shown an interest in establishing a presence in the community.
First, on Sept. 9 in downtown Columbus, 12 to 15 members of the Traditionalist Worker Party conducted a march down Washington Street, handing out fliers that sought to end admission of refugees into the United States. The group, which organizer Jeremy Bowman of Columbus said included about five local residents, wore black armbands and black garments and carried the organization’s flag during the march. It went past several restaurants where people were dining outdoors.
Then in late October, a group called the Midwestern Alliance distributed posters at public locations in Columbus in support of its goal to establish a white ethnic state in Midwestern states.
But as Columbus has shown in its more recent history, and Not In Columbus is demonstrating now, hate won’t be tolerated here.
Over the years civic leaders have worked to ensure that minorities were not discriminated against when looking for housing, and the city has a long-established human rights commission. The city embraces its multinational population with events such as the annual Ethnic Expo. And in recent years, efforts for racial justice and unity have drawn support.
Notably, Not In Columbus has broad support in its mission. Currently it includes:
- African American Pastors Alliance
- Black Lives Matter of Columbus
- Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus
- First Presbyterian Church
- Su Casa Columbus
- Bartholomew County Indivisible
- Islamic Society of Columbus Indiana
- Chinese Affinity Group
- Showing Up For Racial Justice
- Columbus Hebrew congregation
- Hindu Society of Southern Indiana
Those who support the community’s welcoming values and oppose the hate and division of supremacy groups should consider attending the rally. A large contingent is a great way to show that this community stands against ideas of hate.
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